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Tornado debris cleanup almost done

By Staff | Jan 22, 2016

Tornado debris cleanup operations continue in a number of Southwest Cape Coral canals, but storm debris removal by the city’s garbage hauler, Waste Pro, wraps up by Friday.

“Ninety-percent of all tornado related debris placed in the right-of-way has been removed,” said city spokesperson Connie Barron. “Waste Pro will discontinue the dedicated trucks assigned to tornado debris removal as of Friday.”

At its last regular meeting on Jan. 11, City Council approved spending up to $1.2 million from its disaster cleanup budget for removal, repairs and staff overtime costs. Of that amount, an estimated $850,000 was allocated for debris removal alone.

“We anticipate the final costs will come in below that estimate,” said Barron. “We don’t know how much under at this time.”

Waste Pro resumed regular pickup service to the affected area on Thursday. Only material complying with normal trash pickup requirements will be collected. The city will maintain a list of tornado collection items and customer information for follow-up collection and forward the information to Waste Pro for scheduled pickup.

Customers wanting Waste Pro to collect their items without bringing them into compliance with normal trash pickup rules will be charged the allowable franchise rates, officials said.

Pelican Baseball Complex was damaged by the tornado event on Jan. 9. The main losses were the dugouts, backstops and electric service.

“We are looking at around $40,000 to repair the electric,” said Barron. “It will cost around $10,000 to demo the existing dugouts, but we don’t have the numbers yet for replacing the dugouts and backstops. The park likely will be closed at least another six to eight weeks while everything is being rebuilt.”

A city utility lift station that was knocked out of service by the storm also has been repaired and placed back in service.

“Public Works will continue to remove trees and large debris from the canals for awhile,” said Barron. “They can’t give us an estimate on when it will be completed. They were out in boats after a few days removing the small stuff, but just started this week with the long reach excavators for the trees and the bulky stuff.”

Waste Pro’s dedicated operations took just two weeks while city crews will continue for another week or two.

“The residents, and the community volunteers, and city resources all responded quickly and thoroughly to the tornado event,” said Barron. “It is nice to see these all come together to address a problem and all the concerns.”